Tulsa: April 2005 Archives

"Move that bridge" web page


Tulsa neighborhoods along the far south Yale Avenue corridor have set up a web page about the proposed private toll bridge across the Arkansas River at Yale. There are maps showing the planned location and alternative proposals, a page of comments, and e-mail addresses of public officials serving the area.

From my contact with the neighbors involved is that they aren't NIMBYs or anti-progress, but they do want public officials to understand the costs that will be imposed on local governments to handle the impact of this private investment.

If you've got concerns or an interest in the proposed private bridge across the Arkansas River near 121st Street and Yale Avenue, there's a meeting tonight at 7, at St. James Church, 111th and Yale. Some area residents are concerned about the additional traffic the bridge will bring to the two-lane, asphalt country roads that serve the growing area. There's an alternative proposal that would connect the bridge with the south end of Riverside Drive (aka Delaware Ave) at 121st, fixing a dangerous curve at the same time. Although this will be a privately-funded bridge, city and county resources will be required to make it happen, including the power of eminent domain, which gives public officials both the leverage and the responsibility to ensure that the bridge is designed in a way that serves the public interest.

CNN is reporting that the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division is investigating the Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors (GTAR) for anticompetitive practices designed to eliminate price competition for real estate services:

MONEY has learned that Justice's Antitrust Division is gathering information on the bully tactics that full-commission brokers in Tulsa allegedly use against their discount rivals to discourage commission-cutting. The probe follows other recent efforts to spur competition in the real estate industry.

According to a copy of a Justice Department subpoena obtained by MONEY, federal investigators are seeking information on "possible anticompetitive conduct in the provision of real estate services in the Tulsa area" as well as "documents related to refusal to cooperate on real estate transactions."

MONEY has learned that Justice's Antitrust Division is gathering information on the bully tactics that full-commission brokers in Tulsa allegedly use against their discount rivals to discourage commission-cutting. The probe follows other recent efforts to spur competition in the real estate industry.

According to a copy of a Justice Department subpoena obtained by MONEY, federal investigators are seeking information on "possible anticompetitive conduct in the provision of real estate services in the Tulsa area" as well as "documents related to refusal to cooperate on real estate transactions."

GTAR has endorsed and is supporting the effort to recall Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock.

No wonder the Cockroach Caucus doesn't like people asking questions. We appear to have another cozy arrangement that benefits a favored few at the expense of the rest of us.

Blind hatred?


A reader writes, taking exception to the way I've characterized the two recently-formed young professionals groups in Tulsa:

You often right [sic] w/ blind hatred about the Chamber, etc. Recently you commented on the "real" young professionals group and the Chamber's yp group. being somewhat familiar w/ these groups, I think you're being extremely misleading. If you look at http://calendar.yptulsa.org/?id=28 you'll see that yptulsa actually LISTS on their calendar the Chamber's yp event this thursday. I'm not seeing all the animosity and group-competition you claim exists.

Obviously you won't comment on this or anything of the sort. You cut it real black and white on your site. I enjoy your postings though for the most part. But as someone who likes to see the good in both sides of an issue, I rarely agree with you. you got blinders on.

If you'll reread what I wrote more carefully, you'll notice I didn't say there was any animosity between the people involved in ypTULSA and those involved in the Tulsa Metro Chamber's copycat group, TYpros. ypTULSA did indeed list TYpros' inaugural event on their calendar, and the ypTULSA leadership is committed to working with TYpros and any other organization that shares their aims. (I note that TYpros has not reciprocated with a link to ypTULSA.)

It's not "blind hatred" to notice that once again, the Tulsa Metro Chamber bureaucracy is more interested in power and control than in cooperation for the greater good of the city. I stand by the story I reported last October, long before the existence of TYpros was announced. TYpros is the fulfillment of the Chamber's threat to set up a rival organization, after ypTULSA refused its overture to bring them under the Chamber umbrella. People who have been active in the community far longer than I have can affirm that the Chamber's MO is to kill what it cannot control.

It may be the case that the young professionals who have joined TYpros don't see themselves as rivals to ypTULSA, but that was the intention of those who created the group. Perhaps in time, TYpros will develop a mission that differentiates it from what ypTULSA is trying to accomplish. But for now, TYpros appears to be a cynical attempt by the Chamber to direct energetic young professionals away from an independent group that might take things in a direction the Chamber doesn't like.

Which is not to say that I'm going to like every direction that ypTULSA takes, but I respect the group for lighting a candle instead of cursing the darkness. They're already involved in reviving the Greenwood Jazz Festival, trying to reopen Nelson's Buffeteria somewhere downtown, and trying to make something of the East Village concept. You can read Urban Tulsa's coverage of ypTULSA's kickoff here. I'm glad to see that their concept for the east downtown area focuses on bringing in homegrown businesses in an incremental approach, rather than one massive development for the whole area, controlled by a single developer. The incremental, locally-driven approach has worked well in places like Savannah, Georgia, and it's proven itself along Cherry Street and Brookside here in Tulsa.

Lots of lots

| | Comments (6) | TrackBacks (1)

Only one comment so far in response to Downtown Guy's request for what's best in downtown Tulsa. My dad writes:

What is best in Downtown Tulsa?? ---- For a price, there are lots of lots for parking!!!!!

He's right. Downtown has a tremendous collection of surface parking lots, many encompassing an entire city block. Mikki and I once went on a helicopter ride over downtown, and we were awestruck by the vast expanses of asphalt, and there's more of it every year.

Downtown was not always like that -- take a look at downtown, viewed from the south, in 1952. Nearly every building less than five stories in the foreground of that photo, along with many taller buildings, have been flattened, mainly to provide surface parking for Tulsa Community College and nearby churches.

When I first ran for City Council in 1998, I talked about city leaders bringing together building owners, church leaders, and TCC to find a way to meet the need for parking without continuing the process of flattening downtown. Shortly after that election, the Catholic Diocese of Eastern Oklahoma demolished the Tulsa Apartments at 9th and Main. The sturdy apartments were built in the '20s and would have had great potential for renovation as apartments or condos. The diocese claimed that they would replace the apartments with a plaza and a new chancery, but in fact they wanted it for more convenient parking for Sunday morning, just like all the other downtown churches.

Seven years later, the leveling of downtown continues, most recently with the Tulsa Whirled's demolition of the Skelly Building for a dozen parking spots. City leaders are so convinced that the arena (if it is ever built) will bring downtown back to life that they haven't noticed that there isn't much downtown left to revive.

Anyone else think this is a problem?

Best of downtown Tulsa?

| | Comments (2)

Downtown Guy from Oklahoma City wants to know from Tulsans what's best about our downtown:

So, what are your suggestions for getting the most out of a visit to downtown Tulsa? Best hotel? Best restaurants? Best attractions? Best hidden architecture? Best clubs? Best list of events for weekends in April?

What do you think?

Mikki and I had a great time last night at KFAQ's third birthday party at the Mabee Center. It was an honor to have seats in the VIP section, and it was a pleasant surprise to be recognized by Michael DelGiorno as he introduced the dignitaries. (I've always considered myself more of an indignantary.)

Nationally-syndicated talk show host Glenn Beck delivered a wide-ranging hour-long monologue. The first half was like a political stand-up comedy act that had everyone cackling. He began with a salute to the Oklahoma state senator who came up with the idea of putting boxing gloves on roosters, but he said that what really makes America great is that some manufacturer in California said he could make those rooster boxing gloves. He went on to talk about parental responsibility, with a riff on the skanky clothes young girls are allowed to wear. Beck calls them "prostitots."

I was surprised that there were a number of younger kids in the audience. We left ours with a sitter, partly so we could enjoy an evening out on our own, partly because of the kind of subject matter talk show hosts deal with. When Beck started talking about the rising number of junior high school students engaging in oral sex or began using the vulgar past participle for micturition as a synonym for "angry," the presence of a seven-year-old girl in the front row didn't seem to deter him. (Mel Brooks fans will understand why I half-expected him to shift his vocabulary and start talking about "number one" and "pe-pe envy.")

Things turned serious as he talked about the Terri Schiavo case, which he's been covering for more than five years, and he was honored to be invited to sit with the Schindler family at Terri's funeral. Beck read from a chilling article, which he said was in a New York paper a couple of days ago, concerned with the cost to Medicaid programs of long-term care for the severely disabled. The unspoken question in the story -- which I haven't been able to find -- was, "Wouldn't it be better for everyone to put these disabled people out of their misery, so we can spend the money on others?"

Thanks again to the folks at KFAQ for the chance to be a part of the event and for the opportunity to talk over their airwaves every Monday morning. By the way, DelGiorno should be airing excerpts from Beck's speech on Friday morning's show.

Tulsa roundup



Bobby of Tulsa Topics has photos of today's hailstorm, a link to what he uses to do streaming audio on his website, and he has a collection of springtime photos of Tulsa in bloom and has them in a screensaver that you can download.

Don Singleton has news of an experiment in citizen journalism being launched in Bluffton, South Carolina -- a tabloid paper combined with a website: "Every reader will be invited to log onto the Web site and comment about stories, as well as start their own blog, upload pictures and even contribute recipes."

Mee Citee Wurkor will tell you everything you could possibly want to know about water meter replacement.

The Homeowners for Fair Zoning newslog explains F&M Bank's lawsuit against individual city councilors over the 71st and Harvard property. And we learn about the connection between Tulsa Whirled, F&M Bank, and steaming piles of cow dung.

And, yes, you heard right: John Erling is retiring after 28 years as morning show host on KRMG.

Last October, I gave you an anecdote illustrating how the Tulsa Metro Chamber works to throttle innovation:

There's a new group called Young Professionals of Tulsa, whose aims include rediscovering and promoting the "people, places and things that make Tulsa original" -- to that end they're working to raise the money to reopen Nelson's Buffeteria and to revive the Greenwood Jazz Festival. The Tulsa Metro Chamber bureaucrats pushed to make YPT a branch of the Chamber, and when rebuffed, threatened to set up a rival young professionals group and to spread the word that it would be very unwise to join YPT instead of the Chamber's knockoff group.

The Chamber has followed through on its threat, creating a group called TYPROS, which is headed up by Andrea Myers, who works for (surprise, surprise) the PR firm of choice for the Cockroach Coalition, Schnake, Turnbo & Frank. The Tulsa Whirled is doing its part to promote the Chamber puppet group, most recently with a puff piece by Ken Neal in Sunday's paper.

The real, independent group, Young Professionals of Tulsa (ypTULSA) got some good press in August and mid-October of last year, but once the Chamber began to promote its bogus group, the Whirled has had a blackout on the genuine organization.

What's funding the Chamber's effort to crowd out an independent organization? City tax dollars, since this is under the umbrella of the Chamber's economic development department, which is funded by City of Tulsa hotel/motel tax. I hope the Council will keep this kind of wasteful duplication in mind when they consider whether to renew the Chamber's economic development contract for the next fiscal year. If the Chamber can't cooperate with existing groups, the Chamber doesn't need the City's money.

ypTULSA (that's the real group) has its official kickoff event this Friday, April 8, at 4 p.m. Visit their website for details and to RSVP.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa category from April 2005.

Tulsa: March 2005 is the previous archive.

Tulsa: May 2005 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]